No hate here!
Article submitted by Eurodesk UK Partner ELREC (Edinburgh and Lothings Regional Equality Council)
A serious increase in the number of reported hate crime and hate incidents has been registered in the UK since the Brexit vote. Many fear a new spike of hate crimes after Article 50 will be triggered.
What can we do to prevent hate crime?
Many institutions and organisations are taking actions and so can we. For example, you can follow the No Hate Speech Movement, the Coundil of Europe youth campaign against hate speech and for human rights online.
NGOs are also acting locally. For example, ELREC (Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council) is running an awareness raising campaign called “No Hate Here!” in Leith, Edinburgh. We had a chat with Mitra Rostami, the project coordinator.
Mitra, what is “No Hate Here!” about?
“No Hate Here” promotes an informative campaign on hate crime incidents in the Leith area. We aim to raise awareness on the level of hate crime in Edinburgh North, and Leith specifically, since this area has registered the highest levels of hate crime incidents in the whole Edinburgh. In cooperation with many other institutions and organisations we are organising workshops on hate crime and equality open to the public for free. We want to empower people to fight against discrimination and hate crime.
How do you empower people to prevent hate crime?
Well, first of all through education. We give them the instruments to learn more about equality, so that they can reflect and become aware about all types of discrimination, including the indirect ones. We strongly believe that education prevents prejudice and effectively hate crime. Nevertheless, educated people might still experience hate incidents and hate crime either as a victim or as a witness. We therefore put an emphasis on building confidence in challenging prejudice and hate and reporting incidents to police or third party reporting organisations. We also give them tools to face the situation during and after the incident.
So, let’s say we find ourselves in a hate incident situation. We are on a bus and witness a person shouting and offending another person because of their ethnic origins . How do we behave in this difficult situation?
This is a difficult situation and that is the reason why people need training. It is difficult to give the whole range of useful advice, but one fundamental piece of advice is: keep calm and do not panic. Make sure that you are safe. If you are, try to note down as many details as possible. They are very important and allow you to report the incident… because this is also very important: reporting it! Only if we are aware of the real situation on hate crime, we can organise more preventative actions in an effective way. In the end, that is what we want to achieve: prevention!